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November 30, 2015

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No explosions, but ‘Mythbusters’ live show promises to get messy

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Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from MythBusters.

Forget imagining the audience in their underwear' "MythBusters" star Jamie Hyneman overcame stage fright through explosives and danger.

Everyday, the Discovery show host and co-host Adam Savage do something that would rattle most people. They are special-effects experts who star in a show that lets them experiment like mad scientists. Sometimes that involves swimming near sharks, other times exploding a 500-square-foot house with aerosol bug bombs.

Those experiments make the prospect of performing their "MythBusters: Behind the Myths" live show in Las Vegas — the land of glitz and glamor — as frightening as setting off a firecracker.

“We’re on a daily basis doing things that would make a sane person nervous, like using explosives,” Hyneman said. “Getting in front of thousands of people and doing something is relatively trivial.”

The duo will perform six shows at the Palazzo from Aug. 17-19 and Aug. 31-Sept. 2 as part of a cross-country tour. There won’t be any explosions or myths being busted like on the TV show, Hyneman said, but this show maintains "Mythbusters’" spirit of experimentation and surprise.

“One reason it took us this long to put together a stage show is it’s an experimentation (TV) show,” Hyneman said. “To try to experiment live on stage … you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t have the audience sitting around waiting for a pot to boil.”

Instead of myths, the live show relies on audience participation — making them the variable in the experiments. Hyneman refused to divulge too much information, but said some participants will be asked to wear protective gear for an experiment that can get “a little messy.” Other times, they’ll record participants doing something on a high-speed camera and then play it back in slow-motion to humorous effects.

Hyneman said using audience members allows each show to maintain the spontaneity and excitement of an experiment, and guarantee results. Plus, there’s the added bonus of playfully messing with audience members.

“We play with people’s sense of perception,” Hyneman said. “Magic acts do that to some degree, but they’re actively deceiving people. We’re dealing with the same kind of things, but it’s not our intent to deceive someone. It’s simply a different way of looking at things.”

Hyneman expects the show to be a perfect fit alongside shows like Blue Man Group on the Strip. Unlike other attractions such as table games or “Peepshow” that cater solely to adults on vacation, the "Behind the Myths" tour is for families vacationing in the city.

“A lot of people who come to see us are fans of our show and know who we are, which gives us a little bit of a home-court advantage in that sense,” Hyneman said. “The other part of it is that one of the unique things we do, like Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group, is we are family-friendly, and there aren’t that many shows for the whole family.”

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